If you have kept an eye on the Maxim Recruitment website of late, you will have seen numerous blogs from myself and colleagues talking up the Dubai construction market and some of the specific developments that are planned for the near future.
Dubai appears to be open for business again and we all expect a busy few years for the local construction market. Whilst the recent news of large individual developments such as the Dubai Eye have been welcome news for all those linked to the Dubai construction market, everyone is holding their breath for one award in particular: Who will be the host venue of the 2020 World Expo?
What is the World Expo?
The World Expo is held every 5 years. It is an exhibition event which acts as a key meeting point for global communities to share innovation and make progress on issues of international importance. Current issues such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world's people will all feature in the 2020 exhibition. The event is estimated to attract over 25 million visitors, over a period of several months.
Dubai is in the running to host the prestigious event along with Izmir (Turkey), Ayutthaya (Thailand), Yekateringburg (Russia) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The long-awaited announcement of the chosen host is expected in November this year and Dubai is said to be 'hopeful' of its chances. If Dubai is chosen, they will the first country in the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa) to host the event since it was started in 1851 in London.
What Will this Mean for the Dubai Construction Market?
In short, a positive decision would be huge for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the surrounding region.
The largest development will be the site of this event which has already been planned and designed. It will be called the Dubai Trade Centre, which will be a 438 hectare site based between Dubai and Abu Dhabi city centres in Jebel Ali.
This would be an ambitious project consisting of a central plaza with 3 separate development zones branching off from it, each representing a sub-theme for their bid (Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability).
Each zone will contain hundreds of pavilions used for exhibitions during the Expo, the design of which has been inspired by the traditional Arabic Souks.
The whole development will be connected by a state-of-the-art, computer controlled underground metro system enabling invisible servicing during opening hours.
The site will be shaded by an impressive structure made of photovoltaic fabric which acts like solar panels and will generate 50% of the development's power. This structure will also double up as the centrepiece of a spectacular digital projection come nightfall. The total cost of the development is currently budgeted at £5.5bn.
You can see the design in all its glory by watching this promotional video.
As well as the construction of the Dubai Trade Centre site, the award would spark numerous other developments within the UAE. With the site of the Expo being almost equal distance from Dubai and Abu Dhabi city centres, both Emirates would need to make significant upgrades to accommodate the influx in tourism the event would attract.
In particular, big improvements in the countries infrastructure could be expected with transportation links being high on the list. Expect major developments to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Maktoum airports. A rail link between Dubai and Abu Dhabi would seem likely and developments to the roads in and around the city centres in an attempt to calm congestion would also be helpful.
Secondly, a significant increase in hotels and suitable accommodation for the potential visitors would be required. Between the two major cities, expect to see a combination of high end and budget hotels spring up between now and 2020 if Dubai is awarded the World Expo 2020.
How Important is the World Expo to Dubai?
We all expect that the Dubai construction market will continue to grow over the coming years, with or without the award of the World Expo. Dubai has a vision and it is not yet complete.
At the end of the day, if it's not the World Expo, it will be something else that comes to Dubai in the not too distant future, I'm sure of that. They've started something quite stunning and now they're ready to showcase it to the world- they just need the right opportunity.
However, there is no denying that businesses directly and indirectly linked to the Dubai construction market are licking their lips at the thought of the Dubai Expo 2020 and the rewards that will come with it.
Good luck Dubai!
Maxim Recruitment UK & Middle East Region